Garfield County imposes one-month fire ban
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Garfield County Commissioners imposed a temporary fire ban Tuesday for all county and private land below 7,500 feet.The ban was unanimously approved by the commission at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. Formal fireworks shows are not affected by the ban, so Carbondale, Rifle and Parachute can still light up the skies, as planned, on Friday. Glenwood Springs announced the cancellation of its Fourth of July fireworks show earlier in the year. The county ban, which went into effect immediately, will expire July 30 unless renewed. “You need scientific proof to impose a fire ban,” Garfield County Commission Chairman John Martin said.He explained that the “1,000-hour fuel moisture content” in much of the county’s land below 7,500 feet has dropped below 15 percent, and the weather is forecast to stay relatively dry during the next few weeks. The 1,000-hour fuel moisture content is the percentage of water content found in woody fuels that are three to eight inches in diameter. It’s representative of the dryness of larger fuels.Fuel moisture content is around 9 or 10 percent below 7,500 feet, Martin said. “The National Weather Service said there’s high to extreme (fire) danger in western Colorado and eastern Utah.” Martin said. “Also, it’s the 4th of July and we want to be safe.”The county ban specifically applies to county and private land within Garfield County that’s not within incorporated towns or classified as federal land. The county ban specifically prohibits:-Any open fires except for those in permanent fire pits or fire grates. -Smoking, except while in an enclosed vehicle, building, at a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area of at least three feet in diameter that’s barren or cleared of all flammable material. -Operation of a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, with a fire extinguisher and a shovel nearby.-Welding, or operating any other type of torch except within an area that’s barren or cleared of all flammable material for 10 feet on all sides. -Use of explosives requiring fuses or blast caps. -Use of fireworks without a permit. Anyone who violates the ban could be fined up to $300. In addition to the county ban, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently announced a fireworks ban on its lands.Fireworks are outlawed on national forest lands regardless of the time of year or moisture content, but campfires are, as of Tuesday, still allowed. According to the Forest Service, tall, dry grasses are more abundant this year as a result of heavy spring precipitation. The grasses provide a fuel for fires that can spread very quickly, which results in an increased fire danger.Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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